Fruitcake under my tree

How many of us have been sewing on Christmas Eve...just trying to finish up one. last. project???

My sister-in-law inspired this project when she requested a tree-skirt for Christmas; however, I think this little beauty will probably be on my personal to-gift list three or four times.  It's quick, easy, cute, and oh-so-Christmas.

Leah, over at Burgundy Buttons, has even made this little tree-skirt in to a kit...just for you.  (And you have six months from today to get it done!)

If we haven't met yet, I'm Tracey; I blog over at traceyjay quilts, and I hope you enjoy Fruitcake under my Tree...erh, uh, or under your tree.

1 Fruitcake Layer Cake

1/2 yd Maraschino cherry red damask (30228-12) - Setting triangles
1/2 yd Brown Bias stripe (30223-23) - Binding
3 yd Maraschino cherry red ornaments (30221-12) - Backing  (Note: I used 2 1/2 yd and threw in a few of the left-over layer cake squares)

*Please note: 
WOF = width of fabric
All seams are right-sides together, with 1/4" seam allowance, unless otherwise noted
  • Break open that layer cake, and sort in to lights and darks.  You will need 12 light and 12 dark layer cake squares for this project.

  • Grab a pair of contrasting squares.

  • Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. 

  • Sew 1/4" away from the line you drew, on both sides of the line.  (Using a 1/4" sewing foot makes this so easy.)

  • Cut on the line you drew.  Press seams toward the dark square.

  • You now have two half-square triangles (HSTs)!

  • Put them right sides together, with contrasting sides touching (as shown).  If you press your seams to the sides, you will feel them nest in to place.  (The seams are pressed open in this photo; however, for most the blocks I pressed them to the side.)

  • Draw a diagonal line from opposite corners, perpendicular to the seam you just sewed.  Sew 1/4" on each side.
  • Cut on the line you just drew.
  • You now have two hourglass blocks!  (Repeat 11 more times for a total of 24 blocks.)

Setting triangles:

In order to make this tree-skirt in to an octagon, and not a square, we will be using setting triangles on the sides.  We use these triangles because we don't want to have bias edges on the perimeter of our quilt.  Here's how they work for this project:

(size of finished block) 8.75" x (nifty math formula number) 1.414 + (allowance for the seams) 1.25 = 13.6225 which means 13 5/8" *parent squares*
  • Cut two 13 5/8" parent squares.
  • Cut in half diagonally.

  • Cut in half diagonally again to yield four right-triangles.  The long-edge of the triangle (hypotenuse) will be the outside edge of the tree-skirt.

  • Lay-out your blocks with setting triangles as shown below.  I alternated the darks and lights, in a classic hour-glass block design.

  • Pile them into rows for sewing.  (I like to pin and number my rows to keep them sorted.)

  • Sew into rows, pressing seams to alternate sides before joining rows together

  • Use some kind of circle to mark center cut-out of tree (but don't cut yet).

  • Baste.  
  • Quilt.
  • Cut.
Yes, your next step is then to cut along one edge and inside the circle you marked earlier (as shown in the photo below.)

Binding measurements:

A note about binding:
I used the bias stripe for my binding fabric, but I cut it on the bias, which made my cuts parallel to the stripes. You can also cut them perpendicular (which I kind of wish I had done).  I only needed 1/2 yard and got around 300" of binding.  I use this tutorial to make continuous cut bias binding.

Here's how much binding you'll need:
(24.5" * 4) = 98 + (18 * 4)= 72 + (22 * 2) = 44 + 26 (inner circle) = 240" of binding

1/2 yard of continuous bias binding yields over 300 inches of binding tape. :)

Before you sew your binding down, make your ties by cutting about a yard of binding off the end, and folding the sides to the center and then in half.  Fold one side under and sew closed.  You need 2 ties, each about 18" long.
  • Pin in place near opening of circle, on the backside of the quilt.
  • Bind
(Though the corners were not all ninety degrees, they still worked fine to miter!)
  • Wash, Dry, Love.

A wonderful tree skirt... ready in time for Christmas!

Measures approximately 54 inches in diameter (pre-washed).

Kits are available at Burgundy Buttons!

If you have any questions (or want to see some out-takes), hop on over to my blog, and ask!


Rafael's Mum said...

I love the treeskirt and wanted to print.. but the printer friendly link does not work!

Rosie said...

The "Printer Friendly Link" is not working :(

Barbara said...

It always take a few hours from the time the new post appears online until Moda uploads the actual pdf tut - I learned this last year !

Beautiful tree skirt, Tracey !

Sandra said...

Very nice! I'll have to add that to my list of projects to do before Christmas.

Amy (lilme2_99) said...

As a math teacher (and QUILTER), I sure do appreciate a pattern that follows my own heart...

"magic math formula 1.414... (which is the square root of 2, found using the lovely Pythagorean Theorem, BTW) ;0)

And of course, the project itself is adorable! Just last Christmas I told myself I needed a tree skirt by next Christmas....I think I just found it :0) Wonderful tutorial.

Terriaw said...

Of all the tree skirt patterns I've seen, this one is my favorite! I love the fact that it's not just square. This shape looks so much better under the tree. And I love the hole in the center. Well done!

Angie said...

Love this project and I will have plenty of time to get it done. Thanks!

Jenny Garland said...

The printer friendly version will be up shortly. Thanks!

audrey said...

Love this!!! May have to use my 12 days layer cake for this one :)

Christine said...

This is GREAT!! I love the idea! Thank you so much for sharing this!

Natalia from Piece N Quilt said...

Super cute Tracey! :)

BeautifulSeams said...

Great idea love it!!

Sarah said...

This is so nice! I have been wanting to do a tree skirt for the past seven years...maybe this year!

KarrieLyne said...

love love love!!! :D

Barbara said...

Thanks Tracey! Love the tree photos and thanks for the reminder (6 months'till!)

ps link now works!

The simple life... said...

PER-FECT! Christmas in JULY!

Shelby said...

I L-O-V-E this! I have a new project now! :)

teresamnj said...

Love it!

Cindy said...

This is just perfect for Christmas. I might try it without slitting it open and cutting the circle and just having a table topper.

traceyjay said...

Thank you everyone! :)

Don't forget to add your pics to the flickr group when you make it.

Marbree said...

I need to square up my hourglass blocks but am not sure what size to make the square. Is 8.75" (from your math calculation for setting triangles) the size of block once the whole piece is finished or does that include the seam allowances before joining into rows?